TAIPEI — Taiwanese Cho U (張栩) and Shei Imin (謝依旻) were the top male and female Go (weichi) players, respectively, in Japan last year, with Cho winning a total of 90.5 million yen (NT$31.7 million) in cash prizes to retain his title as the top prize money winner for the fourth year in a row, according to the Nihon Ki-in (Japan Go Academy.)
Cho beat Japan’s Keigo Yamashita, who won 86.2 million yen for the year, to retain the top earner title.
The 31-year-old Cho currently holds three Go titles — Kisei, 10-dan and Oza.
He became Japan’s top Go chess prize money winner in 2007, taking in 116 million yen (NT$40.6 million), an annual income that compared well with that of most top professional Taiwanese baseball players in that country.
In 2010, Cho did not win as many titles as the year before, but he took the Kisei title, which was worth 45 million yen. He also defended the Judan and Oza titles and scored competitive results in nearly every tournament.
Last year, Keigo Yamashita gave Cho U a close run. Although he lost the Kisei title to Cho, he won the Honinbo title, which earned him 32 million yen.
Meanwhile, Shei Imin was the top female player in Japan in 2010, making the overall top 10 for the third year in a row with a ranking of 8th and earnings of 18.8 million yen (NT$6.6 million).
Another Taiwanese Go player who made the top 10 list of prize money earners was O Meien in 10th place with winnings of 13.9 million yen. O Rissei, another Taiwanese player, ranked 14th.
Korean player Cho Chikun ranked 9th in 2010 with 18 million yen in prize money, just behind Shei Imin. Cho has been on the top 10 list for 31 years in a row, proving his real strength.